Blackler's Winter Wonderland Grotto
Blackler's Winter Wonderland Grotto badges. Accession numbers MMM.2004.23.2-3
The well known Liverpool department store Blackler's was situated on the corner of Elliot Street and Great Charlotte Street and was founded in the early twentieth century, closing in 1988. During the Second World War the store was very badly damaged by fire in the May Blitz of 1941 and relocated to a variety of temporary sites, mainly in and around Bold Street. In 1953 the first part of the newly built store opened. The façade of the building still remains and is occupied by a number of commercial businesses, including a chain pub named Richard John Blacker after one of the store's founders.
Blackler's was particularly famous for its Winter Wonderland Grotto, which proved incredibly popular every year. More than 10,000 visitors a week went to see the magical scenes and tell Santa Claus what they'd like for Christmas.
These badges, from the social history collection at the Museum of Liverpool, are not currently on display but you can see another Blackler's favourite, Blackie the rocking horse , in The People's Republic gallery. A 4.5 metre high Santa that was displayed on the façade of Blackler's in the 1950s also went on display for a few weeks over Christmas 2013.
Below are a selection of Blacklers images from the Stewart Bale collection in the Maritime Archives and Library - select each one to see it full size. There are more festive photographs from the collection in the Stewart Bale Christmas online exhibition .